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Keynote Dave Snowden
At the KM in Europe conference I went to Dave Snowdens keynote presentation.
The presentation sadly is not available for download from the KM in Europe website, this paper on Sense Making in a Complex and Complicated World (pdf format), however might serve as an alternative. The illustrations used in this article are the same as used in the keynote.
Dave Snowden is a well experienced presenter and does this with a lot of humour and storytelling. That makes listening easy but might trick you into thinking you understand what he's getting at. Looking through my notes I find that I need to read a lot more to get my head around all this. But having seen and heard the man will probably help reading his texts, as Lilia already pointed out. Below are some not overly coherent picks from my notes.
Title Complex Knowledge
Best practice is useless, we only learn from worst practice. Trying to copy the best others have done amounts to ignoring context of both place and time, and reduces you to copying which in its turn is the death of innovation.
Communities of practice too often try to formalize the informal, which is why they fail and end up killing the natural community they were meant to strengthen.
The difference between the US and EU
The American approach to KM is likely to be something like finding 3 cases, analyse them thoroughly and then advise people to copy the actions contained in the cases.
The European approach is more like this: Find 10 acknowledged experts, talk to them, conceptualize their input, and validate those concepts by questioning and application.
The European Union would do well to stop trying to catch up with the US by emulating them, and start celebrating and leveraging their diversity more. If we all are to achieve the aim of the EU becoming the worlds foremost knowledge economy by 2010 as set in the Lisbon Summit, I think we'd do well to follow this advice.
A brief history of management
around 1985 - now; Tom Peters and Peter Senge introduce systems thinking to management. Heuristics in stead of rules. Recognition of diversity.
now; Time to recognize that emergence and complexity will have to be accomodated in our managerial approaches as well.
Snowden says to recognize there is a space for all of these approaches like process re-engineering and the learning organization. But we have to acknowledge the fact that there are borders to their field of applicability and usefulness.
Innovation and Complexity
In this unordered space we can use the concepts of boundaries and attractors from systems thinking. Look for emergent patterns (in your organisation and outside it) and introduce attractors to those you want to leverage more (and ultimately move over into more ordered spaces) and boundaries to those you don't want.
Future projects of Cynefin
UPDATE: Ian Glendinning follows up with some links to interviews, but also to a set of slides, that resemble the ones used at KM in Europe.Permalink | TrackBack | Waypath